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Well let me just start off by saying that this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy was fucking amazing. To me, this is what an “event episode” of this show should be like. No flashbacks, no ludicrous plots involving bombs and Wednesday Addams—just a great plot, lots of tension and plot advancement, and great performances. Even mom_ruv loved this episode—and that’s saying a lot, because trust me, mom_ruv has NOT BEEN A FAN of the other episodes she’s seen thus far.
The episode opens with a rare, dramatic voiceover by Cristina saying that doctors know all their patients’ secrets—medical details, sexual histories, even cellulite trouble spots! Basically, doctors are glorified hairstylists. The visuals go back and forth between an unsettling scene of Cristina walking down a hospital hallway covered in blood and shots of she and Burke getting it on in bed. And I mean really, getting it ON. Like SORRY WHEN DID ABC ACQUIRE THE SPICE CHANNEL.
Over at Meredith’s, she and Shepherd are in bed doing crossword puzzles and having nonsex, which leaves Shepherd charmingly exasperated. Cristina barges in wearing a hideous Stanford track suit and demands that Shepherd leave. She then JUMPS UNDER MEREDITH’S COVERS WITH HER SHOES ON and if I were Meredith I’d kick the bitch out then and there, but Meredith doesn’t, so Cristina asks Meredith what she would do if, hypothetically, Shepherd robbed a bank and she were the getaway driver—would she turn herself in or no? Meredith asks whose idea it was to rob the bank—his or hers—and says she can’t really help unless Cristina tells her what’s going on. Cristina ducks the question and leaves to go jogging. On the way out of the house, she bumps into George and asks how his dad’s doing, what with his surgery scheduled today. Cryptically, George says he isn’t worried anymore. OH REALLY.
When Cristina arrives at the hospital, she plunges into full-on panic over Mr. O’Malley’s operation. But Burke dismisses her concerns, boasting that he did a 14-hour surgery the previous day and is SUCH A STALLION that he had no hand tremors whatsoever. He complains that Cristina is too intense, which just pisses her off even more, since she’s been covering his ass during all his surgeries. Burke says they’re a team. A strong team. Hmm what could we name them? Team Creston? Team Burktina? NO! TEAM PRISTINA!! Anyway, the conversation ends up going nowhere because both of them suddenly get paged.
Turns out pretty much everybody gets paged, since a new patient has arrived—an elderly man who lost control of his car at the big Pike Place fish market in Seattle and plowed through a ton of pedestrians. Ooh, so Grey’s Anatomy is now doing ripped-from-the-headlines stories? I can’t wait for the Dick Cheney atrial fibrillation episode, or maybe the Ted Haggard fecal impaction episode. Anyway, Bailey calls all hands except Izzie, whom she assigns to take over as intern on Mr. O’Malley’s case. At this, Cristina panics, whining that Burke requested her on the O’Malley case. Hey Cristina, SHUT UP.
The elderly driver of the car is a mess of broken bones and glass shards. His frantic wife claims that her husband lost control of the car because the brake pedals stopped responding. Bailey advises her that she’ll probably need to give a statement to the police since so many people were hurt. As if on cue, some dazed young woman who was hit at the fish market staggers into the E.R. reception area, covered in blood. It’s like the cheerleader abortion scene from one of those evangelical Hell Houses!
Afterward, Cristina observes worriedly as a patient of Burke’s suddenly crashes and dies during surgery. And who should arrive just in time to witness this misstep but the devil-surgeon Dr. Hahn, who as you’ll recall was Burke’s nemesis in med school and the one he stole Denny’s transplant heart from. Due to staff cutbacks at ABC’s continuity department, Dr. Hahn now magically works at Seattle Presbyterian instead of last season’s Mercy West. Anyway, Hahn tells Burke that she’s at the hospital for a consult—presumably on Mr. O’Malley’s case.
Alex, meanwhile, is picking broken glass out of the young lady from the fish market who just staggered into the hospital. Turns out she’s a vegetable seller at one of the stands there, and the elderly couple who ran her over are longtime customers of hers. Because hey, nothing says “Thanks for great customer service” like a hood ornament to the sternum. Anyway, the girl also JUST HAPPENS to be ten weeks pregnant, though fortunately blessed with merely a single-barreled uterus.
Then we meet Mrs. O’Malley, who’s at the hospital visiting her husband. This silly ho is a RIOT. Mrs. O’Malley is obsessed with Georgie’s romantic and sex life and seems as eager to marry him off as she is horrified/ecstatic at the idea that he might be making sexytime with a lady. When she finds out that Izzie is one of the girls George lives with, Mrs. O’Malley presses her for details, hoping they’ve had sex. She also is very impressed with Burke, what with George’s tendency to talk about Burke 24/7 (in a completely nonsexual way of course).
When Cristina finds out that George called Dr. Hahn in for a consult, she basically shits her silk panties. See, now if she were wearing SACRED MORMON PANTIES this would not be a problem. Seriously, who knew there was sacred Mormon underwear? BUT THERE IS!! Anyway, Dr. Webber goes to meet Dr. Hahn and try to convince her to join the SGH staff. Callie, meanwhile, asks George how his dad is doing. George wonders why she still cares about him so much if she’s off sleeping with Sloan. Zing! Callie is angry/baffled as to how George found out about this.
The pregnant girl from the fish market is, frankly, a terrible actress. Please don’t bring her back. Anyway, she’s delirious and won’t shut up about how the fetus’s father doesn’t know she’s pregnant and she wants to keep it that way. Callie butts in angrily demanding to speak with Meredith, but Meredith’s mid-chest-tube-insertion so she can’t talk. Sloan, meanwhile, insists that Alex dab and clean one of the girl’s wounds. Dab and clean! Dab and clean! Cheap and peppy! Mid-dab, the doctors suddenly realize that, duh, there’s a GIANT SHARD OF GLASS stuck right in the girl’s heart. GREAT.
It turns out the elderly driver of the car has an advanced case of spinal stenosis, which causes numbness in the legs and feet. In short, the guy shouldn’t have been driving. When Burke comes over to consult on the patient, Shepherd asks him what’s going on with Cristina—she was talking funny in Meredith’s bed this morning, and now supposed to be his intern but is nowhere to be found. Burke claims to know of nothing going on. Shepherd is dubious and presses Meredith about what she and Cristina talked about in the morning. Boys? Hairstyles? Lesbianism? No… BANK ROBBERIES!! Shepherd is baffled.
Meredith finds Cristina, who ignores her because she’s too busy eavesdropping on Dr. Webber’s conversation with Mr. O’Malley. Webber comes out and tells Cristina he needs to speak with Burke as soon as possible—Mr. O’Malley’s elected to have Hahn do his surgery instead, and Burke has been replaced. OOH. Burke remains unfazed at this news, despite Cristina nearly tearing her hair out and flinging feces around the room in panic. He rejects Cristina’s calls for the two of them to “align their stories,” saying he doesn’t tell stories, he tells the truth. Oh really, like you’ve been doing RELIGIOUSLY all autumn. Dumbass.
Izzie, now curious, asks the O’Malleys whether George gave any justification for switching from Dr. Burke to Hahn for the surgery. Mrs. O’Malley’s mind apparently is focused SQUARELY ON SEX, so she becomes oddly convinced—like you CANNOT TALK HER OUT OF IT—that George is somehow dating Dr. Hahn. Mrs. O’Malley then demands to know why Callie broke up with George. Izzie unwisely provides too much information about Callie’s, well, habit of peeing in public and flinging her tatas around like melons at harvest time, which causes Mrs. O’Malley GREAT CONSTERNATION. Mrs. O’Malley then becomes confused as to why George wants Hahn to do the surgery if Burke is supposd to be the best. Izzie wonders aloud why everyone is acting so strangely. NO SHIT, honey.
As Meredith and Izzie are taking a break in the locker room, Callie bursts in in a fury and says she’s gonna kick Meredith’s ass. She can’t believe that after she covered for Meredith by claiming her panties from the bulletin board, Meredith would then backstab her by spilling the beans to George that Callie slept with Sloan. In her words, Meredith broke their code of silence “WITH [HER] McSEX.” This is fantastic. Izzie tries to defend our poor anorexic heroine, saying “She’s very little and you’re hurting her.” HAHA, this couldn’t get much better. But Meredith insists that Callie merely told her she slept with someone and didn’t name a specific person—in fact, Meredith heard from George himself that it was Sloan. Hmm, so now they wonder who told George. OOH, I can’t wait for the inevitable Callie-Alex wrestling match. Does this mean they’re laying the groundwork for a Callie-Addison-Alex love triangle? I love outlandish theories. Somebody call Oliver Stone!
Izzie returns to Mr. O’Malley’s room and informs George that his ex is really hardcore. Not to mention busty and terrifying. The O’Malleys ask again why George wants Hahn rather than Burke to do the surgery. George retorts to Cristina that maybe she should explain that, not him. Izzie tries to reason with George, but George warns her to stay out of the matter. After all, ever since the LVAD incident Izzie’s job isn’t to do, it’s merely to watch. Ooh smack. That was mean, and Izzie is clearly hurt.
Alex, meanwhile, is still picking shards out of the bad actress who’s playing the fish market girl who got hit by the car. Still annoyingly delirious, the girl explains that all her friends think she’s wrong not to tell her unborn baby’s father about her pregnancy. Sensitively, Alex asks her what she plans to do when the kid is six or seven and wants to meet his father. This question apparently proves vexing to the patient, whose vitals start crashing.
Shepherd then breaks the news to the elderly driver’s wife that her husband has spinal stenosis and that they’ll need to do both brain surgery and a tracheotomy at the same time. Plus a cesarean, a knee replacement, and a penile implant, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Just for realism.
Burke goes into Webber’s office as requested, and Cristina spies on the whole meeting trying to figure out what’s going on. Afterward, Burke walks out and tells Cristina that she was totally right: Webber does want to replace him with Hahn—so that Burke himself can be promoted to chief of surgery, since Webber is planning on retiring. OOH, gotcha.
Lady Macbeth-Yang is quite pleased with this news. Burke himself, though, is a little freaked out at the enormity of what chief of surgery would mean, especially given that his coverup about his hand has now taken on gigantic proportions. Cristina launches into a truly Lady Macbeth moment, saying she can learn more surgeries, continue to help Burke, and nobody will ever know. AMBITION, anyone? Burke’s conscience weighs heavy, though, saying he wanted the chief of surgery post his whole career but now that he gets it there’s blood on it. Jesus, did they just borrow this whole scene verbatim from Macbeth? Whatever, it still works for me. Burke and Cristina start blaming each other for crossing the line, until Burke finally blows up that they are no longer a team, since he does all the work, making allowances for Cristina’s emotional shortcomings. Well isn’t somebody TESTY TODAY.
George goes back to his dad’s room, where Mr. O’Malley admits that he went ahead and rescheduled his surgery for the next day and asked for Burke to be put back on the case. George immediately blows up at Izzie, accusing her of trying to influence his parents when he asked her to stay out of things. When his mom scolds him for shouting, George asks his parents whether they realize that Izzie is on probation because the last time she interacted with a patient she killed him. Ouch. Mean George!
Shepherd approaches Burke in the lounge, asking him to scrub in on the elderly driver’s surgery. But Burke has also been asked to scrub in on Montgomery’s surgery on the pregnant fish-market woman. Burke elects to do Montgomery’s surgery and tells Shepherd to ask for Hahn’s help instead. This is getting to be like that old Abbott and Costello routine.
In the hallway, the elderly driver’s wife sees the young woman being wheeled into the O.R. and breaks down, confessing that she knew her husband had trouble with his feet and never did anything. In fact, their daughter took the old man’s car keys away from him so he wouldn’t be able to drive, but she secretly took them back. Ooh, speaking of BLOOD ON ONE’S HANDS, maybe PAY ATTENTION TO THIS ONE, DR. YANG. Bailey empathizes but says that the woman will still need to tell the police.
Burke and Cristina scrub in together tensely and wordlessly. Burke takes out the glass shard that’s lodged in the patient’s heart, but when Cristina offers to do her famous running whip stitch to sew the heart back up, Burke smacks her down and orders her to move to the other side of the operating table. Ouch.
In the other O.R., Hahn, Shepherd, and Meredith are doing their wham-bang tracheotomy-brain-surgery combo. Halfway through, they discover a tear in the man’s aorta, and Hahn frantically requests that they summon Burke from the other O.R. for help.
Burke, though, is just about to start rewarming his patient’s heart, which had been bypassed and cooled while they removed the shard of glass. Nonetheless, Meredith tells Burke that Hahn is calling for him, and he agrees to go help. Cristina freaks out for like the twentieth time in this episode, insisting that she MUST come along with Burke, even though he commands her to stay put. She even follows Burke out into the hallway, which prompts Meredith to chime in, asking Cristina facetiously whether she really thinks Burke can’t operate without her. Suddenly, it hits Meredith: Burke in fact can’t operate without her. Cristina commands Meredith to shut up, because she knows that Meredith has just figured everything out. Ooh, drama.
Burke arrives in Shepherd and Hahn’s O.R., where Meredith watches his hands like a hoarse, Botoxed hawk. As Burke gets to work, Meredith is so distracted from her end of the table that Shepherd reminds her several times to focus on her own work and not on Burke’s hands. Toward the end of the procedure, Burke pauses several times to shake out his hand, and it seems that some tremors are imminent. Shepherd asks him whether everything is okay, and Burke again says things are fine.
Cristina by this point has completely lost her shit, because her chilled-heart patient is overdue to come off bypass and now runs the risk of a stroke. Finally, Burke comes back in and tells the nurses to take the patient off bypass. His hand, though, continues to act up. Then suddenly the patient blows a stitch—I guess Burke’s sutures weren’t so great this time after all—and blood sprays out from the patient’s heart all over Cristina. What is this, the Robert Blake household?
Burke insists that the blown stitch is just a common complication from this type of surgery and that it happens often. He tells Cristina he doesn’t need her for the rest of the procedure, so she’s free to go. So Cristina leaves and walks down the hallway covered in blood. Emmy! EMMY!!
Later, after all the surgeries are done, Burke goes to Webber’s office and says they need to talk. Webber says yes they do indeed need to talk—because we suddenly see that CRISTINA is sitting in Webber’s office and clearly has spilled all the beans. The look of anger on Burke’s face at this point is priceless.
A few minutes later, Cristina observes from outside as Webber shouts at Burke in his office. Hahn picks this moment to approach Cristina and admit that Burke is brilliant, and that if Cristina can actually retain anything Burke teaches her, she could become a pretty amazing surgeon. Ooh, ironicalness.
Alex, meanwhile, approaches Montgomery to ask how the pregnant young woman from the fish market is doing. He says he doesn’t like being Sloan’s lackey. Montgomery replies that Alex is a decent guy and that she’d hate to see Sloan beat that out of him. At this point there is PALPABLE TENSIÃ“N SEXUAL in the air, and Alex and Montgomery share quite a glance. Good god, is this woman pansexual? She and Alex and Callie should just go ahead and jump into bed all at once to try to sort things out.
At the end of the day, Burke and Shepherd share an elevator ride that’s massively awkward to say the least. Shepherd says that he would’ve helped Burke had Burke told him about his hand. Burke refuses to talk about things because it’s been too long a day. And he has some homosexuals to go persecute.
Cristina waits miserably outside the hospital. George breezes past and refuses to look her in the eye, but Meredith comes up and talks to her. Cristina admits that it was both her and Burke’s idea to “rob the bank”—since we’re speaking in Shakesperean metaphors here—and that she confessed to Webber because she just couldn’t keep covering things up. Meredith assures her she did the right thing.
Back at the house, Izzie comes home to find George sitting on the couch. George tries to blurt out an explanation/apology for his mean words about her earlier, saying he’s been confused and scared because of his dad’s illness. Izzie asks him not to apologize yet and insists that he can never bring up Denny to her ever again. I have three words for that: THANK FUCKING GOD. Please let that be the last we hear of that poor bastard.
Upstairs in bed, Shepherd accuses Meredith of knowing about Burke’s condition all along and not saying anything—he saw her watching Burke’s hands during the surgery. Meredith admits that she knew something but that Cristina is her friend and she couldn’t expose her. Shepherd insists that it was Meredith’s responsibility to say something, but she retorts that it was he who cleared Burke to return to surgery in the first place. She declares once again that Cristina is her best friend, and frankly Cristina was there for her when Shepherd wasn’t. At this, she and Shepherd kiss and make up and start riding the pink pony.
And finally, we see that Cristina has, against her better judgment, come home to Burke’s apartment. She walks over toward the bedroom, where Burke stands and gives her a horribly condescending look. Just as I’m thinking oh no that bastard isn’t gonna close the door in her face, what does Burke do but CLOSE THE GODDAMN DOOR IN CRISTINA’S FACE. And with that our special “extended running time” episode ends.
Wow. That was a lot of drama to throw into one episode, but all unrealism aside I think they really pulled it off. Great script, great acting (aside from pregnant shard girl), and overall just a great, well-paced episode. I’m very curious to see how this all shakes out. Anyway, did everybody else enjoy that as much as I did?